In the past, I have struggled when telling my personal stories. I have struggled, but I have overcome. My goal in life now is to be authentic, transparent, and to show the scars of my past mistakes so that others may heal and live happy and prosperous lives. I am not perfect. I am now a free-spirited, passionate woman who is focused on leaving a legacy of truth and compassion. To do this I realized that I needed to get to the root of my problems…the reason I have made so many mistakes in the past…the cause of so many of my trials and bad choices. What I discovered was that one of the issues was low self esteem.
After doing some serious self-reflection, I realized that there were several causes for the way I valued myself….things that were said to me as a child by adults and other children, the mistake of comparing myself to my siblings and others, the absence of my mother when I needed her the most, and allowing others to make decisions that should have been my own. But my breakthrough came when I also realized that I was hardwired to bounce back from each of these things. My breakthrough came when I embraced the fact that I, just like everyone else, had the genetic makeup and resiliency to embrace and overcome anything, including low self-esteem.
On my “bounce back” journey, I chose to draw upon internal and external resources. I had to go deep within and to reach out to others. Perhaps you too struggle with low self esteem or know someone who does. Below I will identify for you some of the factors that helped fuel my movement towards a happier and healthier development.
1. Admit You Have a Problem – Until you admit that there are issues within, you will be powerless to solve them. Be willing to learn the lessons, even if they are painful at times. If you do not, you will grow or be able to move forward. For me this was difficult. To many, I was known as the “go to person” on my job and in my family. On the surface it appeared that I had it all together and my ego made it difficult for me to admit that I did not. But after several failed relationships and a manager who saw right through my façade and who told me so, I decided to make some changes. Changes that put me on the path to becoming a coach, mentor, speaker; things I never dreamed I could become.
2. Self Reflect – In order to fix something you have to know what is wrong. But you cannot simply focus on the symptoms (in my case, bad choices, insecurities, failed relationships, lack of focus) you must get to the root cause. This process can also be painful and requires persistence, but while going through it, you will be able to learn from your mistakes, release any attachments and strong holds, and start to remove all the dirt and grime you have gathered along the way.
3. Change the Way You Look at Things – Through the process of developing healthy self-esteem one of my favorite quotes became “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” by Wayne Dyer. Being positive is not always easy when you are self reflecting and trying to correct some things. But believe me, there are more things right about you than there are wrong. Stay reminded of all the great things you have accomplished…all of your positive characteristics, and continue to focus on them as you are making strides to remove those things that have been keeping you from becoming your best self.
4. Stop Blaming Others – I had become good at playing the blame game. In every failed relationship, it was the other person’s fault. My finances, my failure to get that job, my fluctuating weight and even not showing up at times was all the fault of someone else. Finally, through my journey toward higher self-esteem, I had to ask myself a tough question. “If games are supposed to be fun, why are you so unhappy with the ones you are playing?” Warning: Asking yourself this question just might cause you to realize that you are a part of the problem. This doesn’t mean that no one else played a part in it. It just means that you likely did as well.
5. Change Your Circle – Be mindful of those you hang around. Some of them might be influencing your negative thoughts and contributing to your low self-esteem. Stay around those who compliment and motivate you. Not everyone is going to be happy for you when you decide to make the change to become happier and healthier. Seek out organizations and groups via social media and within your community and beyond that help to create a comfortable and friendly environment. Likeminded people who gather for one common interest are likely to empower and inspire you.
6. Love Yourself – In the beginning, I found this much easier said than done. However, a mentor reminded me that self love begins with one thought. Try, just as I did, to start an exercise of looking in the mirror each morning and complimenting yourself before starting your day. Doing so will make embracing your flaws a lot less difficult.
7. Ask for Help – Sometimes it is difficult to ask for help. Ego, embarrassment or the mere shock of realizing that you truly can’t do it alone can all contribute to you being hesitant to do so. Just know that by reaching out to someone, you may be equipping yourself with tools that are necessary in helping you become a better you.
Doing a combination of the above has allowed me to enhance my self-esteem, to build loving and relaxing relationships and to build my dream career. It has also allowed me to find something positive in each obstacle that I encounter and to take a lesson away from it.
If you are suffering from low self-esteem, just know that you can conquer it. Start by admitting that you have the problem and then take the steps necessary to bounce back and become a happier and more prosperous.
Teresa L. Holmes